I love watching and listening to debates. Listening to the arguments for and against a position really helps me to see new ways to think and new ways to study God’s Word. When someone challenges my worldview with difficult questions, it’s probably not the 1st time someone has brought up that question or the 1st time someone has answered it. So, viewing debates is a nice way to see how these questions come about and how to answer difficult questions.
Almost always, these debates drive me back to scripture to confirm that someone has answered in accordance with God’s Word. This pattern is called noble in Acts 17:11
Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so.
So, let me encourage anyone reading this blog or any other blog to test what is read against the scriptures. Now, we live in a special time in human history as well, because not only are we able to READ the scriptures, but we can dig deep with all of the available tools of the internet. Let me put in an endorsement for Blue Letter Bible. They have a great website and mobile app! My favorite use of this tools is to see the original Hebrew and Greek words in which the divinely inspired texts were written, since I do not speak either language.
This debate caught my interest this week, and I’ve linked to the beginning of the cross examination portion of the debate. It is between old earth theist, Fuz Rana and philosopher Michael Ruse.
In their 1st exchange, Ruse reads Genesis 1:16
[Gen 1:16 ESV] 16 And God made the two great lights–the greater light to rule the day and the lesser light to rule the night–and the stars.
He then asks where is the sun is for the 1st three days. I’ve got a much better answer than Rana tries to give below
Watching Rana, you can clearly see he is uncomfortable with this line of questioning because he has left the safety of God’s Word and is crafting a new story with new definitions. At 54:57 he says, “We take days as a long period of time…” His yarn includes not 1 but 2 invented transformations of the atmosphere to allow light to pass to the surface of the earth. And then he is either badly mistaken or lying to cover a glaring hole in his worldview. Starting at 56:00 he says:
The text in the original Hebrew doesn’t say that the sun moon and stars were created, it says that let them appear.
Well, let’s check his scholarship of scripture with the tools we have available. If you click here on this link, you’ll see Genesis 1:16 open in Blue Letter Bible. You should see something that looks like the picture below. Notice the English transliteration of the Hebrew word for “made” is ‘asah.
You can drill down further into the usage of this term by clicking the link H6213. This will show you specifically about this Hebrew word: how many times it’s used in the Bible, and which ways it is translated. Not once is this word (as Rana says) ever translated appear…as though the clouds cleared to show these lights having existed for millions of years prior as Rana sadly believes.
Now if Rana wants to believe this, he then has to account for other times this word ‘asah is used within the context. It is used in
- Gen 1:7 – creation of the expanse
- Gen 1:11 – plants making/bearing fruit
- Gen 1:26 – creation of mankind
So, if we put Rana’s misinterpretation of ‘asah from Gen 1:16 in place of the other uses of ‘asah in the same context, can we say that the expanse, fruits, and humans have existed for millions of years and then the atmosphere cleared so that they became visible to a hypothetical observer. This is a huge problem for Rana and his parent company Reasons to Believe.
Perhaps Rana meant that in Gen 1:14 was when these concocted atmospheric transformations took place, and the sun, moon, and stars “appeared”. But God does not use the Hebrew word for appear (ra’ah) like he did in Gen 1:9. This would have given credence to Rana’s legend had the Biblical text included in Gen 1:14 the Hebrew word ra’ah because its definition is:
- to see
- to appear
- to present oneself
- to become visible
Dr. Ruse rightly pushes Dr. Rana and says, “as most of us would read Genesis then, it is profoundly misleading.”
Yes, Dr. Rana, you are teaching misleading doctrine. This is not the only example of the folks at Reasons to Believe teaching indefensible interpretations of scripture.
Thankfully, we can check their words with context, other parts of scripture, and the tools available to us with the internet. God’s Word can be trusted in all matters.